Adoption & Abuse

Sometimes it's HARD to decide what to blog about.  My usual problem is not finding something to post about, but in deciding what NOT to post about.  Believe it or not, I don't actually blog about everything that crosses my mind or my computer screen, though some days I know it seems I do! 

I've been trying to decide whether to post about an article, which is a followup to something I posted about before, but couldn't decide if it was "new" enough to bother.  And I admit, I'm sometimes leery about posting on topics that annoy readers (doesn't always stop me -- UNICEF, anyone?!), and this one seems to. But when a recent news story caught my attention, I figured I needed post again on the topic of adoption and abuse.  It is important enough.
Remember a while ago I posted about the spike in reported cases of starvation abuse of adopted children in Washington state? The article noted that the state was appointing a study group of experts to study the issue of child abuse in adoption, to determine whether there is a link between adoption and child abuse, what causes it, etc.  I think the unanswered questions are important enough to report this followup that lists the questions the group will be trying to answer:
  • Are neglect and abuse, including withholding food, on the rise? And are they more prevalent in adopted homes?
  • Are changes needed to foreign or cross-race adoptions procedures? Or in the foster care adoption process?
  • Do child welfare agencies maintain adequate long-term data on adoption outcomes?
  • Does a push to have more foster children adopted sooner created risks to child safety?
The story that made me think I should post these questions?  This one about the death of a child at the hands of her prospective adoptive father:
A Fort Drum soldier wounded in Afghanistan in 2009 admitted Tuesday that he killed a 4-month-old girl he and his wife were trying to adopt by banging her head against a hard surface and throwing her into a crib.

Jeffrey Sliker, a native of Middletown, R.I., could get 15 years to life in prison at sentencing on March 14 — almost a year after his arrest at the couple's home near the military post in northern New York.

Sliker, 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Laurne Clark, also known as Mollie Sliker, who was found dead with a head injury after Sliker's wife alerted authorities.

Prosecutor Cindy Intschert said Sliker told the judge "he had had very little sleep, he was getting ready for work, the child was crying and he became frustrated."

* * *

Defense attorney Sheila Crowley said Sliker was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The most important thing now, I think, is to figure out what we can learn from these cases to try to prevent them in the future. 

Yes, I know biological parents also abuse children, so it can't be exclusively an adoption problem. But what can we do in adoption -- better screening? better preparation? better post-adoption support? -- to prevent abuse?

I think the study group, which expects to issue a report in May, is asking the right questions. What other questions do you think they need to answer?